Alongside a fourth brother, Vernon, the group originally performed gospel music until Vernon's death a couple years after its original formation. After moving to the New York City area in the late 1950s, the group had modest chart successes during their early years, first coming to prominence in 1959 with their fourth single, "Shout", written by the three brothers. Initially a modest charted single, the song eventually sold over a million copies. Afterwards the group recorded modestly successful works for a variety of labels, including the top 20 single, "Twist & Shout" and the Motown single, "This Old Heart of Mine" before recording and issuing the Grammy Award-winning hit, "It's Your Thing" on their own label, T-Neck Records.
Initially influenced by gospel and doo-wop music, the group began experimenting with different musical styles incorporating elements of rock and funk music as well as pop balladry. The inclusion of younger brothers Ernie Isley and Marvin Isley, and Rudolph's brother-in-law Chris Jasper in 1973 turned the original vocal trio into a self-contained musical band. For the next full decade, the siblings recorded top-selling albums including The Heat Is On and Between the Sheets.
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